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China, New Zealand begin negotiations on upgrading FTA

The first round of negotiations for an upgrade to the China-New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA) is scheduled to begin on April 25 in Beijing, according to a statement on the website of the Ministry of Commerce.

The decision was announced after a meeting between Premier Li Keqiang and New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English during Li’s visit to New Zealand earlier this year.

“This is the first of its kind that’s being done between China and a developed country. This is the highest level bilateral FTA between China and a developed country. This will give a strong boost to trade links between China and New Zealand, and it will send a positive signal to the world and to the region that our two countries are committed to free trade. This is a clear position of our two countries,” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on March 27 during his visit to New Zealand.

Long-term trade relations between the two countries have been good since the FTA was signed in 2008. At the 2016 APEC Leaders Meeting in Peru, it was announced that upgrade negotiations would begin in the first half of 2017. To date, China has signed 14 FTAs with 22 countries and regions, in Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Europe.

The negotiations are scheduled to end on April 27.